The Daily Iowan

By the numbers: Wisconsin

Wisconsin enters Kinnick boasting solid numbers so far through three games this season.

Wisconsin+running+back+Jonathan+Taylor+%2823%29+is+tackled+by+Iowa+linebacker+Ben+Niemann+%2844%29+just+before+the+goal+line+during+the+game+between+Iowa+and+Wisconsin+at+Camp+Randall+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Nov.+11%2C+2017.+The+Hawkeyes+fell+to+the+Badgers+38-14.+%28Ben+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) is tackled by Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann (44) just before the goal line during the game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to the Badgers 38-14. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) is tackled by Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann (44) just before the goal line during the game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to the Badgers 38-14. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Smith

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Smith

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) is tackled by Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann (44) just before the goal line during the game between Iowa and Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. The Hawkeyes fell to the Badgers 38-14. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

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Heading into a night battle in Kinnick Stadium, Iowa is undefeated, and Wisconsin is unexpectedly 2-1 after suffering a 24-21 loss to BYU.

The loss shouldn’t fool anyone, though — the Badgers are still a good team, and they will pose a big challenge for Iowa’s first Big Ten game.

Here’s a look at the Hawkeyes’ next opponent, by the numbers.

515 – Jonathan Taylor’s rushing yards

Taylor had a phenomenal freshman campaign in 2017, running for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He hasn’t taken a step backwards this year, and he leads the conference with 515 yards and 5 touchdowns through three games. He also ranks second in the country in rushing yards.

His 171.7 yards per game is the best in the Big Ten and his average of 6.7 yards per carry is the second-best in the conference. When the Badgers win, Taylor is a big reason.

Even when Wisconsin loses, Taylor’s performance doesn’t seem to be the problem. When the Badgers lost to the Cougars on Sept. 15, Taylor ran for 117 yards on 26 carries and added 3 receptions for 14 yards in the receiving game.

62.5% – Wisconsin’s red-zone defense

The Badgers, who finished 2017 with the best defense in the Big Ten, have not fallen back when it comes to keeping teams from scoring.

When teams get inside the 20-yard line, Wisconsin has allowed just 4 touchdowns and 1 field goal, which is tied with Penn State for the best in the conference.

Wisconsin’s overall defense isn’t so good as it was last season. The Badgers gave up just 262.1 yards per game in 2017, but they now sit at 275.7. Although that is not a huge change, it ranks third in the Big Ten – behind Iowa and Minnesota – as opposed to leading the conference.

The Wisconsin pass defense is the second-best in the Big Ten, allowing only 145 yards a game, but its run defense is just middle of the pack, giving up 130.7 yards per game, ranking eighth.

20.8 – A.J. Taylor’s average yards per catch

The Hawkeye secondary has done a good job of neutralizing big threats so far.

In Iowa’s win over Iowa State on Sept. 8, Hakeem Butler – who is fourth in the country with 26.1 yards per catch – was held to just 3 catches for 35 yards.

Iowa’s pass defense has been solid, allowing just 167 yards a game through the air to opposing offenses. Despite losing Josh Jackson to the NFL, the Hawkeyes haven’t really suffered.

Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins have done everything coaches can ask for, rarely getting burned and constantly holding receivers to small games.

If the Hawkeyes do a good job of containing Taylor, as they did against Iowa State running back David Montgomery, the Badgers might have to turn to the pass more.

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About the Writer
Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Pete Ruden is the Sports Editor at the DI, where he has worked since the beginning of his college career. He has covered a variety of sports at the DI, including football, men’s basketball, baseball, wrestling, and men’s tennis. Currently a junior, he served as a sports reporter his freshman year, before becoming the Assistant Sports Editor his sophomore year.

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